HandyAndy’s SBS-Rocks Blog

Journeys of a cranky community organizer..
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  • Spoiler Alert! The Cancer is Back!

    Posted on February 13th, 2015 HandyAndy No comments









    Some History: Back in the 1990’s I fought a five and a half year battle with Cancer and although I beat it eventually, it did wipe me out financially and forced me into bankruptcy.  That was the second time I had to start my life over from zero. When the bankruptcy was finished, Kathy and I celebrated the new beginning by getting married. She must have been nuts I was flat broke :>)

    Recently: The last couple of years I have been forced to downsize my consulting practice due to my dwindling stamina (a result of my long term coronary issues). I have cut it to the bone to a point where we are still getting by, but we also had to downsize our lifestyle to fit our greatly reduced income. Those of you who know me from the SMB Community, this is why I have been absent from the events where you normally see me at the last couple years.

    Currently: In January I went in for an unrelated issue, an ultrasound of the arteries in my neck. What they accidently found was an undetermined mass in the right side of my neck. Well another ultrasound and a biopsy and it was determined that the cancer I beat in the 90’s, was back for another shot at me. The doctors are currently shuffling me back and forth trying to figure out the best course of action. Normally they would start with another surgery but they are afraid my heart is not strong enough to make it through the anesthesia. I have also already had the normal lifetime limit of radiation. Now they are trying to come up with the least life threating approach to fight the cancer.










    The Request, You Knew It Was Coming: This is the hardest part for me. I am never one to ask for help. I am usually the one doing the helping. Knowing the kind of expenses that are coming and my limited means for covering them I am asking for your help to fight this battle. I need help to get through the impending mountain of bills and expenses, while I fight this rematch with cancer and hopefully defeat it once again.   I cannot go into this knowing I will come out the other side in bankruptcy once again. I also cannot risk leaving my wife in a position if I don’t make it where she is going to be forced into bankruptcy. So my request of you is this. Please help out with whatever you can afford to donate to this worthy (well I think it is worthy) cause. Please do not borrow money to donate or get yourself in a bind, but if you can spare a few bucks to help fund my battle Kathy and I would be eternally grateful.  Thank you for whatever help you can offer, and if you can’t help with money, positive vibes are still much appreciated.

    Donation can be made through GoFundMe at  http://www.gofundme.com/mc64ns or through PayPal at HelpFundHA@Outlook.com if you prefer.

    Gratefully, HandyAndy

           or        Paypal_button1


  • While I wasn’t looking I was ReBranded, Windows Server for Small and Medium Business MVP

    Posted on July 17th, 2013 HandyAndy 3 comments

    Well y’all have been hearing for some time now that SBS is dead and gone (well in the process of dying anyways), well to reinforce that idea Microsoft rebranded the SBS MVPs to Windows Server for Small and Medium Business MVPs so I guess that is about as offical as you can get. One might even say the handwriting is not only on the wall but it is all over the internet now. I may have to switch my domain from www.SBS-Rocks.com to www.SBS-Rocked.com oh well life goes on, I will miss you SBS!

  • How long to stay in Las Vegas

    Posted on July 16th, 2013 HandyAndy No comments

    Well I am making back to back trips to Las Vegas, maybe I should just stay there :>)

    First I am heading to the GFI MAX US Conference to hang out with my old pal MAX
    Click the logo for direct registration link,
    Septemeber 23-24, 2013

    and then shortly after returning home turning around and heading to the  SMB Nation’s Fall 2013 Conference since I had to miss the Spring conference, I have to make this one!








    Click the logo for direct registration link,
    October 10-12, 2013.

    Sure hope to see you at one or both of these upcoming events! Look for me if you are there, lets chat!

    Anyone think Mrs HandyAndy will notice if I just stay there the whole time :>)


  • Please Vote for Them, Help Correct an Oversight

    Posted on January 6th, 2013 HandyAndy No comments

    Hi Gang,

    As I am sure you are aware by now voting is open for the 2013 SMB 150.

    As I was casting votes this afternoon, I noticed there are a good number of folks who give their all to our community that the votes are just not reflecting. I would like to ask you to do me a favor and take a look at the last 10 or 15 pages (there are only 8 to a page) of nominees and see if you don’t think there are some there who are worthy of your vote.

    You can vote for as many people as you want and you can vote for them more than once if you wish as long as you wait 24 hours before voting for the same person. Please help me correct this oversight before it becomes permanent! 

    If you are not sure how to organise the names in descending order here are some tips for you with pictures to help.
    First click the All Nominees on the upper row of buttons.
    Then on the next row of button click All.
                   (continued under picture)

    Next click the 54 button to bring you to the end of the list.
    Finally click the previous button to cycle back through the last 10-15 pages and find the folks you would like to cast your votes for

    Thank You for Helping Correct this Oversight! Voting is open through January 18th.

  • SA Make Good is Good Now, Thank You Microsoft

    Posted on December 20th, 2012 HandyAndy 2 comments

    Appreciative cat

    A few weeks ago after working behind the scenes for months with The Susan Bradley and a number of the other MVP’s I became frustrated and and wrote THIS POST, calling Microsoft out on the carpet for an SA make good that we did not feel made us whole.

    I am very happy to report that today David Fabritius released THIS BLOG POST correcting what a lot of us felt was a raw deal for faithful SA customers. I would like to thank Microsoft and specifically Eric Ligman, Kevin Beares and David Fabritius for their hard work to get this SA make good offer made whole once again. I know a lot of you think that feedback given to Microsoft falls on dead ears, but this speedy resolution just proves they really do listen and when possible take action. To all of you who wrote in at my request, thank you!

    On behalf of the loyal SBS SA Customers everywhere let me say THANK YOU Microsoft!

  • CAUTION before you buy a Pride Mobility Product

    Posted on December 17th, 2012 HandyAndy 2 comments

    pic of scooter

    Apparently Pride Mobility is not very proud of their products. As a matter of fact they do not even cover labor under their warranty, even for brand new items that do not work correctly. Apparently they are aware of how unreliable they can be and do not want to be responsible for the lack of quality control that appears to have gone into their manufacture. Is this any way to build brand loyalty, I think not!

    I live on the east coast and travel for a number of technical conferences each year. I have always rented mobility scooters previously, but this year in San Jose, CA there was not one scooter available to be rented, so I ended up having to buy one. I noticed it had a quirk were it would drop into this very slow motion mode for a random amount of time and then at some point return to normal operation. Of course I was on a tight timetable and could not return to the dealer, so I figured I had bought a well-known respectable nationwide brand (I thought) I will deal with it on my return home.

    After I was home I looked up the closest dealer to my house and took it in for repair. I was informed since they did not sell it to me they could not fix it. It would not be covered by the insurance. I told them I did not have any insurance so could they fix it. They said they would take a look at it. They called a couple of day later and said it could be fixed, the parts were covered under warranty, but I would have to pay the labor since I did not buy it from them.

    I paid the invoice thinking it would not be a problem to recover the labor from Pride, after all I did take it to their dealer for repair. Well much to my surprise they couldn’t care less. They stood firmly on their policy of not covering labor even on units defective at the time of the sale.

    So do yourself a favor, buy another brand, don’t let their lack of compassion effect you as well.

     If you are still considering purchasing one of their products make sure and do it from a dealer close to home so at least you have the option to return it to them for repairs.

    As the old saying goes, forewarned is forearmed, you have the knowledge, use it wisely!

  • SBS SA Make-Good is NOT, Microsoft should be ashamed of itself.

    Posted on November 29th, 2012 HandyAndy 10 comments


    Let me start off with a sincere apology to anyone who took my advice over the years and bought SA for their SBS licenses. In the past when Microsoft killed off a product that had SA on it, there was a reasonable make good offer made. Some offering that would let you continue to run your infrastructure mostly uninterrupted. Not so in the case of the SBS make good.

    As we all know by now Microsoft recently put a stake through the heart of SBS.  This week my first client’s license is up for renewal so I am working with the disty (License Online in this case) and trying to figure out what to order so my client can continue to run their network in a fashion that makes sense for them. This cannot be done with the current make-good which is one copy of server standard for SBS and one copy of server standard for the PAO add-on. The latter by the way is just fine and what would be expected, one copy of server and one copy of SQL to run on it.

    The problem is with the SBS make-good itself.
    SBS needs an OS for AD/File&Print and another for Exchange. It requires two OSes to replace SBS. Microsoft’s answer is to virtualize the one copy of server, but that is not necessarily in the best interest of the smaller client and they may not want to go there for any number of reasons. The make good should in all good conscience be a copy of server standard to hold exchange and a copy of Essentials server to hold the AD/File&Print. The Cals are a no brain-er and take care of themselves swapping out SBS Cals for the same number of Server and Exchange Cals. This would be as close to apples to apples as one would expect historically and ethically. It is not reasonable to expect these smaller clients have to bear the overhead and technical challenges of running a virtual network and the additional headaches it involves. I am not concerned about the larger clients; they are probably already looking into or implementing virtualization. I am concerned about the under 25 crowd, the majority of SBS networks.    

    Having trouble following along what the issue is?
    Let me try this example.
    Let’s compare this to a fire insurance policy.

    Say you have a 3 bedroom house.
    Let’s call those bedrooms AD/File&Print, Exchange and PAO/SQL.
    You insure it, let’s call that policy SA.
    It burns down.

    When you call the insurance company they tell you they can’t rebuild your house, what they can do is make you a two bedroom house instead. They will make one bedroom and you can put in bunk beds (let’s call them virtualization) to hold AD and Exchange and then another bedroom to hold PAO/SQL. This is what Microsoft is doing, forcing the small businesses that bought into the SA lie into either buying a copy of Essentials or running their infrastructure in Virtual Servers which many don’t want and is not the best fit for many of them either. They deserve apples to apples like SA always provided in the past. This is how make goods were handled in the past. In this new paradigm SA is a BAD INVESTMENT, since you are no longer guaranteed a reasonable make good. Microsoft’s word is no longer to be trusted regarding SA when they say they will take care of you. They are leaving us holding the bag and out in the cold, a bedroom short if you will.

    I and many of the SBS-MVP’s having been having this fight for you behind the scenes for months now. We have not been able to get anyone at Microsoft to see reason. To be fair a few folks have understood the problem and agreed with us, but were powerless to get it fixed. Every time it looks like they finally get it, someone throws a monkey wrench into the works.  It appears the only way to get them to be reasonable is to become a squeaky wheel, so to speak. So please, if you find yourself in this position with your clients, write to the powers that be at Microsoft and let your dis-satisfaction and your opinion be heard. It is the only way they may right this wrong.

    Here are a few folks you can contact to pass along you views. Please keep in mind as you write to them, they are not the problem. Don’t take out your frustrations on them. They are stuck in the middle, but they can pass along your collective views to those in power to try and right this wrong.

    David Fabritius                  David.Fabritius@microsoft.com
    Clinton Ho                          Clinton.Ho@microsoft.com
    Kevin Beares                      KBeares@microsoft.com
    Eric Ligman                        ELigman@microsoft.com
    Kevin Turner                     Kevin.Turner@microsoft.com
    Steve Ballmer                    Steveb@microsoft.com (the buck stops here)

    Your Community Advocate,

  • Microsoft announces RTM of W12 Essentials Today

    Posted on October 9th, 2012 HandyAndy No comments

    Got this note from from Dave Seibert and thought I would share it since he took the time to list all the links, Thx Dave!

    Microsoft announces RTM of W12 Essentials. Several MS documents have also been revised or updated with the latest W12 Essentials information.
    Here are a few highlights & linked docs to share with everyone:
    * W12 Essentials is now in RTM. The downloadable bits are available from the Eval Center

    * There is a virtual demo environment available online hands-on-lab http://online.holsystems.com/Software/holLaunchPadOnline/holLaunchPadOnline.application?eng=SBS2011&auth=none&src=SBS&altadd=true&labid=6253>

    * W12 Essentials updated Licensing & Pricing FAQ’s W12 FAQ
    http://download.microsoft.com/download/4/D/B/4DB352D1-C610-466A-9AAF-EEF4F4CFFF27/WS2012_Licensing-Pricing_FAQ.pdf> (see Q35-Q46)

    * W12 Essentials updated Licensing Data Sheet

    * Reference to the full W12 Essentials Product page

    * Foundation Server 2012 licensing & pricing remain the same

    On an overall note, most will recall that SBS information was posted individually for easy reading for SB focused partners. Now the Essentials information is listed within the Window Server 2012 Family documentation. I hope that Microsoft separates or makes it easier for us to follow Essentials progress.
    Dave Seibert
    SMB Technology Network, Executive VP!
    IT Innovators, Inc.

  • Windows 8 To Go Gottcha to watch for!

    Posted on October 2nd, 2012 HandyAndy No comments

    Windows To Go was a new feature introduced in Windows 7, it is really handy way to carry a secure copy of the operating system around with you. You just plug your boot-able thumb drive into a handy computer, reboot it and all your private information a history stays on the thumb drive not on the computer you borrowed. It does take a good sized drive and USB 3 really speeds things up.

    Kingston DT Ultimate Thumb Drive

    They look alike don’t they? Well after wasting a few hours trying and trying to redo one of my 32Gb Data Travelers that was booting Window 7 just fine (the top one), I broke down and called Kingston. Apparently windows only allows one partition on removable media and Windows 8 To Go requires 2 partitions. So Kingston had to release a new version of the Data Traveler just for Win 8 (the bottom one), I am reasonably sure the other manufacturers will have to do something similar. So do your homework and make sure the drive you are going to buy specifically says it will support Windows 8 Bootable Windows To Go. The trick to knowing on the Data Traveler is the Model Number will start with KW instead of DT, this number is stamped on the metal part of the USB plug, I tried to get a picture but it was impossible to see. So here is what the card looks like that is in the package of the correct model. If you want to look on the metal tounge of the USB plug I recommend bringing a strong magnifing glass to the store with you.

    Kingston DT Ultimate 2

    Look for thje KW beginging the model number

    Something else you should know the process to create the Windows to go drive has changed as well.
    Here is a link to the process for creating both the  Windows 7 & Windows 8 versions http://tweaks.com/windows/52279/how-to-create-a-windows-to-go-usb-drive/

  • SBS may have been EOL’d but not HA (yet)

    Posted on October 1st, 2012 HandyAndy 1 comment

    Just heard I have been awarded the Microsoft MVP for Small Business Server for the tenth year running. I would like to thank all of you that belong to the SMB Community for helping to make it something I enjoy being part of and supporting so much to enable me to qualify for this award repeatedly! With the announcement of the End Of Life of SBS I was not sure they would keep me around any longer, but apparently the good follks at Microsoft still see some value in my input. I would have have thought they would be tired of me saying “You’re doing what” by now :>)

    MVP Award Notice

    HA renewed for another year!

    Thank You All for Your Support through the years,